Holiday Inn Maldives resort celebrates World Manta Day 2023

Maldives Scuba Diving guide


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reef manta ray in maldives

17 September, 2023

Today Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives celebrates the annual World Manta Day with the naming of a recently rescued Giant Oceanic Manta Ray, an award and a variety of guest activities for the resort’s inaugural Kandooma Manta Week. World Manta Day has been created to celebrate manta rays and to raise awareness of the threats that these beautiful, mysterious, ocean giants face.

Last month divers from Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives led by Japanese PADI-certified Dive Instructor Tomoyo, freed a Giant Oceanic Manta Ray tangled in ghost nets, at a site nearby to the island resort. The Manta Trust through its identification process has now confirmed the Manta is an adult male and is the 915th Oceanic Manta Ray to be spotted in Maldivian waters. As part of the identification process the Manta was named ‘Kandooma’ in honour of where it was seen and the dive team who freed it from tangled nets.

“We are delighted to have the Manta named after our natural island, Kandooma. When the Manta Trust shared confirmation of the name with us, I was absolutely thrilled,” said Mark Eletr, General Manager, Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives, who was one of the divers who freed the Manta.

As part of the Kandooma Manta Week activities at the resort, the team at Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives will host a naming ceremony for Kandooma the Manta and will honour the Dive Instructor, Tomoyo from the Kandooma Dive Centre for her bravery, seizing the opportunity to cut ‘Kandooma’ the Giant Oceanic Manta Ray free. Other activities for the week long celebration of Manta Rays includes special scuba dives and snorkelling excursions to observe these giants in their natural environment and learn about their behaviours, the threats to their survival and share the story of the freeing of ‘Kandooma’.

“Tomoyo showed no hesitation on the dive. First ensuring the group of accompanying divers were all safe before proceeding. Fortunately they were all experienced and each had enough air remaining for her to do this. In all it took about three and a half minutes to free Kandooma. I was so proud of her for the way she conducted herself and took positive action. I think also the other divers need to be acknowledged as well, they remained calm, kept their distance, didn’t interfere with what Tomoyo was doing and recorded the entire encounter,” added Mark.

The newly named Manta, ’Kandooma’, is estimated to be 4 metres in size. While confirmed origin of the fishing net is yet to be confirmed, it is understood it is not Maldivian and has drifted with the tide from another country, reinforcing the importance of education and responsible disposal of nets and fishing line.

The theme of World Manta Day 2023 is Tourism. Tourism plays a pivotal role in Manta Ray conservation, as it helps to raise awareness, generates funding for research, and contributes to efforts to protect Manta Ray habitats and prevents their exploitation.

Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma is on the doorstep to some of the Maldives Top Ten Dive Sites and the wellbeing of the ocean and all the life within it, is important to guests and hotel staff alike. The resort aligns its efforts with IHG’s purpose True Hospitality for Good, through their sustainability programme ‘Journey to Tomorrow’ which is the hotel group’s response to helping achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. 

Recent events with Kandooma the Manta have inspired the resort’s management to add two free Scuba Dives per day for certified divers staying at the resort for 3 nights or more.

Located in the South Male atoll just 40 mins from the airport by boat, Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives is a beautiful island paradise. White sandy beaches, swaying coconut palms and turquoise waters form the backdrop for various leisure pursuits and some of the best diving in the Maldives. Guests can choose from Garden and Beach Villas, two-storey Beach Houses and the popular Overwater Villas. Families are well catered for with a choice of 2- and 3-bed villas, the Kandoo Kids’ Club, and its complete activities programme. Six food and beverage outlets ensure healthy appetites are satisfied and the flavours of the Maldives are explored. For guests who desire the ultimate relaxation, sun loungers and hammocks are located around the island. The Kandooma Spa by COMO Shambhala offers the ultimate tranquility and escape for body and mind.

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